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Film School Confidential Get in. Make it out alive. Tom Edgar & Karin Kelly 2007 Introduction to the Second Edition 1st edition was already ten years ago! During the course of ten years…. The emerging of digital video as an accepted medium The growth of Internet & Cellphone culture

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Presentation Transcript
Introduction to the Second Edition
  • 1st edition was already ten years ago!
  • During the course of ten years….
    • The emerging of digital video as an accepted medium
    • The growth of Internet & Cellphone culture
    • MFA in film may be what the MBA was not long ago
    • Revolution of Documentary
Film Schools and Hollywood : A Brief History
  • Film schools were campus jokes.
  • Hollywood’s best and most influential films were rooted in existential despair..(Think Bergman, Polanski, Kurosawa)
  • In 1980 a pack of graduates from Southern California Film Schools got the chance to make movies. (Speilberg, Lucas)
  • Their films became a hit, and so did the school
  • The next megahit V.S. the low budget
  • In general, you don’t get to make a big movie until you’ve made a small one.
Why go to film school ?
  • Time
  • Structure
  • Freedom
  • Guidance
  • Contacts
  • Insurance
  • Teaching Credentials
  • Community
What about undergraduate film school ?
  • It’s great if you’re going to college anyway
  • But you may not be ready to make a film the time you get the opportunity
  • Suggestion : don’t get both BFA & MFA in film.
What about the film schools that advertise in the back of magazines ?
  • “New York Film Academy” “Los Angeles Film School”
  • Just a short course about how to use a camera
  • Best as a prerequisite
What about skipping film school entirely ?
  • If you want to be a technician, move to Hollywood!
  • If you want to be a director, go to Film School or make your first outstanding feature yourself, by..
    • Take some classes to write & direct SHORT films
    • Take some acting classes
    • Direct a one-act play for the stage
    • Watch as many great movies as you can
    • Hire experienced crew & be willing to accept their advice
Why are there so many film schools anyway ?
  • Personal computer has made it much easier to be creative
  • During the gold rush, few of the gold miners struck it rich, but the businessman did very well.
  • Schools that do not offer classes in filmmaking are at a disadvantage in attracting new students
Four kinds of film school
  • Industry
  • Independent
  • Experimental
  • Documentary
University of Southern California (USC)

($209,508 ext. total cost - Industry / Documentary)

  • 4 years curriculum in directing, 2 years curriculum in screenwriting, producing, or production
  • Oldest & Most famous film school in the U.S.
  • Technically flawless, a bit soulless
  • Best things : the name, the technical training, better facilities, top-notch documentary program, well-prep. for Hollywood
  • Worst things : it’s a program about the technology and business of film; any art that happens is usually incidental.
New York University (most expensive - Independent)
  • 4 years curriculum, est. total cost $216,740
  • Very demanding, very concerned with storytelling
  • Best things : embodies the spirit of independent filmmaking, best facilities*, graduate employable students with marketable skills, very prestigious, and living in NY can be a life-altering experience.
  • Worst things : The bill and the stress.

*24 Arriflex SRs, 1 Arriflex 35 mm, 8 Panasonic DVX100s, 4 Sony PD150s, 6 Avid Media Composers, ADR Foley & Mixing stage, large soundstage, recording studios, two large state-of-the-art theaters

California Institute of Arts (CalArts)

(most expensive - focused on experimental film & animation)

  • 3 years curriculum, est. total cost $165,370
  • An Art School for creative, motivated individuals with a strong personal vision, techno-cool
  • Best things : small size & funky attitude, great atmosphere to be creative, strong programs in dance / design / computer animation, connection with Pixars
  • Worst things : depressing town, too much freedom
Florida State University (least expensive - Industry)
  • 2 years curriculum, est. total cost $89,316
  • More about learning through hands-on experience & collaboration
  • Best things : Students get a lot for their money, graduate employment rate is very high, plentiful equipment, extremely active & supportive network
  • Worst things : exhausting, no guarantee to direct a thesis film, a little bit too supportive for the real world
University of New Orleans(least expensive - Independent)
  • 2 years curriculum, est. total cost $53,720
  • Very strong connection with drama program, not nearly demanding or fast-paced,
  • Best things : The price, The equipment* is available when needed, Students could make a lot of film under a tight budget
  • Worst things : Hurricane Katrina has complicated things, and the faculty is not always around to help

*few CP-16 , Arri SR, 6 Panasonic DVX100s, plentiful light & sound packages, 2 nice-sized soundstage, 7 Avid stations, Audio finishing Suite, Whisper room for Voice & ADR

More about the schools